LG 65E7 4K OLED TV Review
A touch of glass
What is the LG E7?The E7 is a mid-range model in LG’s 2017 line-up of 4K OLED TVs and as such it finds itself in direct competition with Sony's A1, Loewe’s Bild 7 and Panasonic’s EZ952. Naturally the E7 supports Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) but in an impressive piece of box ticking it also supports Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), Dolby Vision and even Advanced HDR by Technicolor. That means the E7 has you covered no matter which implementation of HDR becomes dominant and if that wasn’t enough the E7 also supports Dolby Atmos.
As you’ve probably realised by now LG place a great deal of importance on their partnership with Dolby and there’s no doubt that their support of Dolby Vision will appeal to consumers, especially now that discs and players supporting the format are available. However both Sony and Loewe also support Dolby Vision so, unlike last year, LG won’t have a monopoly on that particular feature. They also won’t have a monopoly on OLED this year with not only Panasonic, Sony and Loewe offering OLED TVs but Philips joining the party with the excellent 55POS901F.
Despite all these new names in the market place, LG’s biggest competition for the E7 might ironically come from themselves. The manufacturer has publicly stated that all their 2017 OLED TVs all use the same panel and picture processing, as well as include all the same features and WebOS smart platform. So on paper at least the only benefits that the E7 offers over the cheaper B7 are the ‘Picture-on-Glass’ design and built-in soundbar. If those features are important to you then the E7 is clearly the superior option but if not, then would the B7 make a better choice for someone whose main priority is picture quality?
The OLED65E7 that we're reviewing has a suggested retail price of £4,999 as at the time of writing (June 2017) but the OLED65B7 can be picked up for less, at just £4,499. In this review we’ll test the performance of the 65E7 and compare it to the recently reviewed Sony KD-65A1 and Panasonic TX-65EZ1002 OLED TVs. However we will also directly compare the E7 to the OLED55B7 that we had in for review at the same time to establish whether there really is any difference in terms of picture quality and decide whether the E7 not only holds its own against the competition but also justifies a higher price compared to its stablemate.
DesignLG have decided to stick with a very similar look to last year’s E6, which makes sense because it remains one of the best pieces of industrial design that we’ve seen in years and easily the most attractive TV currently available. As far as we can tell the only real difference between the two models is that the E7 adds a sloped stand with a brush metal finish beneath the built-in soundbar. This change is largely cosmetic but it does make it easier to get your fingers underneath the soundbar when moving the TV itself and you can install the E7 on a surface area of 620 x 195mm. You also have the option of wall mounting and there are 300x200 VESA mounts at the rear for that purpose, although these are located in the bottom half of the panel so bear that in mind when considering how high to mount the E7 on your wall.
Aside from the addition of the stand, it’s the same gorgeous design with the ‘Picture-on-Glass’ emphasising the ultra slim nature of OLED whilst also strengthening the construction. There is a 5mm border around the outer edge that is formed by the glass backing and there is a 10mm wide black border around the screen itself. The rear has a gloss black finish and the panel is 7mm wide at the top, widening out to 60mm at the bottom where all the electronics, connections and the built-in soundbar are located, and at the top of this rear section there are air vents. If you would prefer to use your own soundbar, there is 90mm of clearance beneath the screen when the TV is stand mounted. The E7 has dimensions of 1461 x 904 x 195mm (WxHxD) with the stand included, weighs in at 23.1kgs and the build quality is definitely superior to that of the cheaper B7.
The E7 retains the gorgeous Picture-on-Glass design and built-in soundbar of last year's E6
Connections & ControlThe connections on the E7 are all at the bottom left as you face the screen, in largely the same place as last year's E6, and are composed of a combination of sideways and rearwards facing inputs. The E6 had its sideways facing connections only 100mm from the edge of the screen but this year those inputs are 240mm, which is much better for hiding cables. The actual connections consist of three HDMI inputs, a USB 3.0 port and a CI (Common Interface) slot. Facing rearwards you’ll find a fourth HDMI input, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port (although there is also built-in WiFi), dual terrestrial and satellite tuners, an optical digital output, a headphone socket and an RS232 connector for serial control. All the HDMI inputs support 4K/60p, High Dynamic Range (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision), Rec. 2020 and HDCP 2.2, whilst one of them also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel). In comparison the B7 has a very similar set of connections, although it only has one terrestrial and one satellite tuner.
In terms of differences between the B7 and E7 the most obvious, aside from the design, is the remote control. The higher-end model has a more impressive-looking Magic Remote, which uses the same silver and black design as last year's E6. The remote is well made, comfortable to hold and ergonomically designed to be easily used with one hand and as a result controlling the user interface on the TV was seamless. The button layout is virtually the same as last year but LG have obviously dropped the 3D button, like all of their 2017 TVs the E7 doesn't support it, and they have moved the Settings button. As a result this has allowed LG to add direct access buttons for Netflix and Amazon, along with all the usual buttons which are sensibly laid out with the navigation controls and track wheel in the middle. The remote includes voice control but the pointer function is highly effective and perfectly compliments the WebOS smart TV platform, making controlling and navigating the E7 simple. If you'd rather use your smart device as a controller there is also a free remote app for iOS and Android which proved quite effective.
There are plenty of connections and a well designed and effective Magic Remote
Features & SpecsAs we mentioned in the introduction, LG have publicly stated that this year's range of OLED TVs all have same basic feature set and the same system-on-chip (SoC), so any differences are largely cosmetic. That means that regardless of which LG OLED you choose you'll get a flat 4K Ultra HD 10-bit panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz and support for wider colour gamuts and all four versions of High Dynamic Range – HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and even Advanced HDR by Technicolor. All of LG's 2017 OLED TVs are Ultra HD Premium certified by the UHD Alliance and although they have dropped 3D support across the board, they have add Dolby Atmos to this year's line-up.
MORE: What is Dolby Vision?
WebOS 3.5 is the latest version of LG's smart platform and it adds some new features, including the OLED Gallery which allows you to choose Art Frame, Rainy Window, Sunny Day or your own photos to appear on the screen. This year LG have also included an option called Zoom Record which allows you to record a zoomed section of the image and there's also the option to use the Music Player in full screen mode with lyric synchronisation, if you fancy a bit of karaoke. Finally LG have added the ability to enjoy 360 degree material on your TV screen and use the Magic Remote to drag the pointer and look around the 360 degree environment. available.
As with previous generations WebOS includes the LG Content Store, a full web browser, all the main video streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, Now TV, YouTube, Wuaki TV and a complete set of TV catch-up services. It's a testament to how effective the WebOS platform was from the very start that, even in its latest iteration, it remains essentially the same aside from a few tweaks. It's also robust, stable and responsive and, in our opinion it remains the best designed and most intuitive Smart TV system available.
So where does the E7 differ from the cheaper B7? Well it includes a built-in soundbar that is similar to the one on the E6 but this year it has 4.2-channels and 60W of amplification. We'll cover this soundbar and the Dolby Atmos support in more detail in the sound quality section of this review but suffice to say that the E7 sounds significantly better than the B7. One thing we did notice is that unlike on previous generations of LG TVs, the name Harman/Kardon is conspicuous by its absence but that's hardly surprising given that the audio company was bought by arch-rivals Samsung at the end of 2016.
The E7 is feature packed with support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and WebOS 3.5
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-BoxLG TVs ship in their Eco mode but for the most accurate image we'd recommend using the ISF Bright and Dark Room modes. As their names suggest one is intended for use during the day when there's more ambient light in the room and the other for night when an image that is too bright can be fatiguing for the eyes. The two ISF picture modes are not only the most accurate out of the box but they also conveniently turn off most of the special features and select the correct Colour Temperature of Warm2. Set the Colour Gamut to Auto (it's set to Wide in ISF Bright Room), this will automatically select the correct colour gamut depending on the incoming signal. Then all you need to do is set the OLED Light, Contrast, Brightness and Gamma controls to suit your particular environment. You can set TruMotion depending on your personal preference but we would always recommend turning it off for film-based content and don't forget to turn the Edge Enhancer off.
All our measurements were done with a Klein K-10A colour meter, a Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. You can find our suggested settings here or alternatively you can follow the simple steps in our PicturePerfect Guide.
The E7 delivered an excellent performance when it came to its out-of-the-box greyscale and gamma measurements. The greyscale had largely equal amounts of red, green and blue at each IRE interval and the gamma was tracking around our target of 2.4. All the DeltaEs (errors) were below two and most were below one, which makes this one of the most accurate out-of-the-box performances we've measured. Whilst this sample was provided by LG and it's possible that retail units might not be as accurate, it does continue a trend for greater out-of-the-box accuracy from modern TVs. As with all LG TVs the E7 includes 2- and 20-point white balance controls, which means we can fine tune this already impressive performance.The out-of-the-box colour gamut was equally as impressive and, as the graph above shows, all three primary colours and all three secondary colours were tracking their saturation points for Rec.709 very closely. This is probably just as well since by LG's own admission, the colour management system (CMS) isn't very effective and can add artefacts into the image. We can't guarantee that this level of accuracy extends to all retail samples but the only TV we've measured that was more accurate out-of-the-box was the Panasonic EZ1002 which is intended for semi-professional use and costs £2,000 more. The E7 was more accurate out-of-the-box than the B7 we reviewed and although the latter was a retail sample we felt the E7 was a bit more refined in terms of its accuracy, helping to justify the extra £500.
The E7 delivered superb out-of-the-box accuracy in terms of greyscale, gamma and gamut
Picture Settings – CalibratedAs with all LG TVs the E7 includes a comprehensive set of calibration controls, including both 2- and 20-point white balance controls, a detailed gamma control and a full Colour Management System (CMS), so we should be able to improve on the already excellent image accuracy. As mentioned in the previous section LG's CMS is known to be somewhat buggy, often introducing artefacts when used too much, but since we're only fine-tuning the E7, we don't anticipate any problems.
Since the greyscale was already very accurate there was no reason to use the 2-point and we went straight to the 20-point where we fine tuned the levels, quickly getting a reference performance in terms of both the greyscale and gamma. There were now exact amounts of red, green and blue at each IRE interval, the gamma was tracking 2.4 precisely and the errors were all nearly zero which is essentially perfect.After fine tuning the greyscale the colour temperature of white was now measuring at our target of D65 precisely, as evidenced by the dot being at the centre of the square in the middle of the graph above. Not that this really made any difference to the already excellent colour performance. We used the CMS to slightly adjust the hue of the secondary colours . There were still some tiny hue errors in magenta but otherwise the tracking was superb and the luminance levels (which is not shown on the graph above) was also excellent, resulting in an impressive colour performance. Overall this is one of the best performances we have seen from a domestic TV and, whilst the B7 could also deliver great accuracy, the E7 still had the edge.
Picture Settings – High Dynamic RangeThe advent of High Dynamic Range has caused a seismic shift in not only how content is graded but also how a TV displays that content and the result is a fair degree of confusion. We are in the process of moving from a standard dynamic range world of agreed industry targets that all modern TV can display to a brave new world of HDR. The problem is that there has been little in the way of industry standardisation so far with studios grading content at different peak brightnesses and manufacturers implementing their own solutions when it comes to actually displaying HDR content. To add to the confusion there are also competing versions of HDR but in the case of LG's OLEDs they actually support them all, so that's largely a moot point. Let's run through the various aspects of HDR and see if the E7 delivers in terms of its own performance and against the B7.The most talked about and probably most misunderstood aspect of HDR is peak brightness. The content currently available is graded at either 1,000nits or 4,000nits, depending on which studio is doing it, but that does not mean the entire image is that bright. Only tiny aspects of the image such as sunlight glinting off metal are meant to be delivered at these peak brightness levels, the rest of the image won't be as bright but the overall brightness will obviously change depending on the content in the scene.
We actually measured the peak brightness of the E7 at 670nits using a 10% window and we could get nearer 700nits with a 1% window, which means that those peak or specular highlights can appear quite bright. In addition, since an OLED works at a pixel level the highlights can also be delivered with exacting precision. However the E7 could only deliver 320nits on a 50% screen and 140nits on a 100% screen because it's ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) kicks in as the overall APL (Average Picture Level) gets brighter, although this is an improvement on last year because it kicks in at a higher level resulting in an image that is brighter overall.
Since the content is graded at peak brightnesses that are higher than the TV is capable of, it has to tone map the content to match its actual capabilities. Tone mapping is a generic term that describes the process by which the peak brightness and colour gamut that the HDR content was graded at is adjusted to fit the capabilities of the TV itself. The graph above shows a how the E7 tone maps a 4,000nits HDR signal with a 10% window and as you can see it is doing an excellent job within the limitations of its 700nits of peak brightness.
LG has taken the approach of maintaining the peak highlights in content at the expense of the overall picture brightness, as a result bright detail isn't clipped (lost) but the overall image can appear darker. There is no right or wrong approach here, since there is no agreed method of tone mapping, each manufacturer can use their own method of delivering HDR. However we do feel that LG's approach, much like Panasonic's, is intended to retain the content creators' intentions as closely as possible whilst allowing for the limitations of the TV itself. Interestingly, although the E7 and the B7 had very similar brightness measurements, the E7 actually tracked the PQ EOTF slightly more accurately.
The greyscale is extremely even which means that the E7 is delivering D65 accurately for HDR – both SDR and HDR use the same target for white. The E7 is also tracking the PQ EOTF (the perceptual curve used for HDR) extremely accurately right right up to the point where it hits the limitation of its own brightness. As a result the errors are all below the visible threshold (the first time we've seen this on an HDR TV) and the E7 is delivering a highly accurate HDR performance in terms of tone mapping the peak brightness. LG have also added a 2-point white balance control for HDR, which makes fine tuning the greyscale performance easier.
As we mentioned in the previous section, tone mapping involves two factors – the peak brightness and the colour gamut – and in terms of the latter there is a greater degree of standardisation. This is because there is an industry defined and agreed standard for HDR colour reproduction in consumer displays called Rec. 2020. This is a huge colour gamut, much larger than any current TV can reach, but it should be considered a future-proof container in which current content can be delivered.
The graph above shows the spectrum of colours visible to the human eye (the horseshoe shape) and the triangle is Rec. 2020. The native colour gamut of the E7 managed to cover just under 71% of Rec. 2020 which is very good and it also managed to track the saturation targets quite closely within the limitations of its native colour gamut. Interestingly the B7 measured at 72% but that's probably just due to panel variations. However although the graph above shows Rec. 2020, the content is actually created using a professional colour gamut called DCI-P3 which is then delivered within this Rec. 2020 container.
That brings on to the graph above, which shows the DCI-P3 colour gamut within the Rec. 2020 container. We measured the E7 at 95% of DCI-P3 using xy coordinates and 98% using the uv coordinates, with the latter being the more modern approach for mapping the colour gamut. The B7's slightly larger coverage of Rec. 2020 is reflected here, with the cheaper TV actually delivering 96 and 99% of DCI-P3 depending on how you measure it. However the E7 covers almost the whole of the DCI-P3 colour space and it also tracked it slightly more accurately across the various saturation points than the B7. Ultimately both the E7 and B7 can deliver fully saturated and accurate colours within the limitations of their respective colour volumes.
The idea of a colour volume is nothing new, a TV has always had a colour volume composed of its brightness (luminance) performance and its native colour gamut, but it has taken on greater importance with the advent of HDR. That's because these days the colour volume of the content is much bigger and so the larger the colour volume of the TV the more effectively it can tone map that content. Imagine if you had two containers, one can hold 2 lines and the other 1 litre, and you try to fit 4 litres into each – neither container is ideal but you'll find it easier with the 2 litre container.
The problem is that, as with almost everything else related to HDR, there is no agreed standard of measuring colour volume. Here at AVForums we use two approaches, the first is the Relative Colour Volume, which takes the display's own peak brightness and measures the colour volume relative to that peak brightness based on the CIE L*a*b* colour graph and 140 data points. For the E7 we got measurements of 110% against Rec. 709, 74% against DCI-P3 and 50% against Rec. 2020 but these measurements aren't taking into account the maximum nits that the content is graded at, so it really isn't that informative.
A better approach is to measure the Perceptual Colour Volume, which uses the PQ EOTF out to 10,000nits and the Rec. 2020 colour gamut measured using the ICtCp colour graph which takes into account human visual perception. This measurement uses 393 data points and delivers a number expressed in Millions of Distinguishable Colours (MDC). So a theoretical display that could deliver 10,000nits of peak brightness and 100% of Rec. 2020 would be able to deliver 997 million distinguishable colours or an MDC number of 997 and by comparison the E7 produced an MDC number of 348.
Not only is this approach more representative of a TV's capabilities but it also provides a single number that makes comparing different TVs much easier. In fact since we were testing the B7 at the same time, we had an opportunity to put this particular approach into practice because, as mentioned, the B7 actually performed slightly better than the E7 in terms of the HDR measurements. As a result the B7's relative measurements were 122% against Rec. 709, 81% against DCI-P3 and 55% against Rec. 2020, which seem much larger, but its MDC number was only one higher at 349. As with the SDR measurements both the E7 and B7 are very similar and any differences are probably just the result of panel variations but the E7 again seemed slightly more refined in its overall implementation.
The E7 was just as impressive with HDR, delivering great images despite the limited brightness of OLED
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosIf you ever experienced an OLED TV or know anything about the technology it shouldn't surprise you to discover that the E7 knock it out of the park in terms of its black levels and contrast ratios. We measured the black level at zero and the E7 could easily hit our SDR target of 120nits, which equates to an on/off contrast ratio of infinity. The same was true with the ANSI contrast ratio, so the resulting images had an incredible dynamic range and thus a marvellous sense of depth. It's worth remembering that in all this talk of peak brightness for HDR, a dynamic range goes from black to white and a TV's ability to display blacks and detail just above black is just as important. In fact it might be more important because our eyes are much better at distinguishing details in dark images than they are with bright images.
If you actually look at the PQ EOTF which is based on human visual perception, you'll see that it's not a linear curve and there are more gradations at the darker end of the scale than the brighter end. An OLED TV clearly has a distinct advantage over an LCD TV in terms of delivering deep blacks with both SDR and HDR images and we're glad to see that LG have made great improvements to the performance of their OLED panels just above black. Using test scenes we could see that the detail in shadows was more defined and although that applied to both SDR and HDR it was more noticeable with the latter. We have noticed the superior shadow detail on the W7, the E7 and also the B7, so it would appear these improvements just above black apply to all of LG's 2017 models. This is great news because black crush was definitely an issue last year.
Screen UniformityOverall the screen uniformity of the E7 was excellent and when using 1 to 5% full-field grey test patterns the panel was free of the vignetting (dark edges) that had affected previous generations. The panel was also free of any discolouration or DSE (dirty screen effect) that has also been an issue in previous years, nor was there any macro-blocking unless it happened to be in the source material. As with all OLED panels there was some very minor vertical banding that we could see with dedicated test patterns but this wasn't apparent when watching normal content. We watched quite a bit of football and rugby during our time with the E7 and we were almost never aware of any banding as the camera panned quickly across the pitch. In fact we'd say that whilst the E7 was the same as the B7 in this regard, they were superior to the Sony A1 and Panasonic EZ1002 both of which had at least one band that was visible with certain content. We were also pleased to see that neither the E7 or B7 suffered from any image retention, even when we were using high contrast HDR test patterns.
Motion HandlingOverall we found the motion handling on the E7 to be what we would expect for an OLED TV with around 300 lines of motion resolution with TruMotion turned off. We actually found that even with football and other fast paced sports we were happy to watch without the TruMotion engaged and never distracted by the motion handling. However we do appreciate that many people struggle with any form of judder and thus will want to use the TruMotion feature. The motion resolution will increase to nearer 1000 once you engage either the Clear or Smooth settings but this will introduced excessive smoothing and the dreaded 'soap opera effect'.
This won't necessarily be an issue with sports content but we did sometimes notice artefacts other than smoothing, so don't consider TruMotion to be a magic bullet when it comes to motion handling. For movies we would recommend either turning TruMotion off entirely or experimenting with the User setting, which allows you to customise the amount of Deblur and Dejudder. This approach will allow you to increase the motion resolution without adding unnatural smoothing that would rob a movie of its film-like quality, however you could still introduce occasional unwanted artefacts.
Standard Dynamic Range ContentWhen it came to watching Standard Dynamic Range content the E7 was a stellar performer and the combination of deep blacks, accurate images and excellent video processing resulted in some wonderful SDR pictures. The inherent dynamic range gave images tremendous depth and solidity, whilst the viewing angles were extremely wide. The accuracy of the greyscale, gamma and colour gamut also played their parts and all these factors, combined with the good motion handling and effective upscaling of lower resolution content, resulted in beautifully rendered images. We don't watch much standard definition content these days but even Agents of SHIELD on E4 managed to look good.
Once we moved on to high definition content the benefits of the OLED panel were even more apparent with dramas and documentaries looking especially good. The pictures delivered deep blacks where necessary but retained fine detail in the shadows. The processing was able to scale the high definition images to match the 4K panel and high quality documentaries from the BBC looked incredible on the E7 with detailed images that retained a natural and realistic appearance. As we have already mentioned, football looked great on the E7 with good motion handling and no signs of annoying banding. The LG also handled the video streaming services well, with both Netflix and Amazon delivering marvellous looking images with well-shot shows such as Better Call Saul and American Gods.
Of course, when it comes to Blu-rays the E7 simply stepped up a gear and a computer-generated film like Moana looked absolutely gorgeous. The detail in the animated images were perfectly rendered and the deep blacks combined with the superb greyscale and colour accuracy produced images that popped off the screen. The Blu-ray release of Doctor Strange was equally as impressive, with the E7 delivering the trippy visuals with great verve. The film’s many darker scenes were particularly well rendered whilst the imaginative action scenes were reproduced with beautiful colours and plenty of fine detail. It's a shame that we can no longer enjoy the film in 3D on a 2017 LG OLED but the 2D images were simply superb and just edged the equally as impressive B7.
HDR10 ContentWe have already spent quite a lot of time discussing HDR in the test sections but there's only so much you can tell from patterns and graphs, ultimately you need to start watching some actual HDR content and find out how the display really performs. The E7 certainly didn't disappoint when it came to HDR with all of the factors that we have mentioned so far coming into play. The fact that the LG can deliver almost the entire DCI-P3 colour space accurately meant that films like The Revenant retained a saturated but natural appearance. The 10-bit encoding meant that the images were also free from banding, the 24p was handled well and films that used a 4K digital intermediate like The Revenant and Sully looked incredibly detailed.
A recent release like The Great Wall was an excellent example of just how good an Ultra Blu-ray can look with a native 4K image, wide colour gamut and HDR10. The E7 did a fantastic job delivering every pixel of detail and all the colours whilst also tone mapping the HDR accurately and rendering the specular highlights with precision. The nighttime scenes were also reproduced very effectively, delivering deep blacks but retaining the details in shadows. When it came to our go-to test disc Planet Earth II, the results were just as good and the incredible images often looked stunning on the E7.
The E7 also correctly tone mapped the sun behind the mountain in the 'Arriving in Neverland' scene in Pan, so that the disc of the sun was visible within its glow. It was only with particularly dark film such as Underworld: Blood Wars that LG's approach to tone mapping became apparent. In order to retain the specular highlights the rest of the image could appear rather dark but we would rather that have detail clipped in the highlights. This is essentially a limitation of the static metadata used on HDR10 content but the improved ABL performance certainly helped and we never found the sometimes darker image to be an issue, whilst the deep blacks and improved shadow detail certainly helped.
Whilst it is true that an LCD TV will have advantages in areas like peak brightness and the overall picture level, allowing for larger overall colour volume, the pixel-level precision of an OLED combined with its deep blacks and superior shadow detail do even things out. The E7 was certainly a great performer with HDR, producing some lovely images and we were pleased to see that the B7 was equally as impressive in this area, proving that LG have been true to their word in terms of all their 2017 range performing the same when it comes to picture quality.
The E7 delivered some of the best images we've seen from an OLED TV this year
LG OLED65E7V Video Review
Sound QualityAlthough the soundbar that is built into the E7 isn't new, last year's E6 had something very similar, it has been beefed up with 4.2 channels and 60W of amplification. In pure performance terms we were impressed with the built-in speakers producing a decent level of sound quality for a modern TV. The large screen size meant there was good stereo separation across the front and the resulting soundstage had both width and depth. The mid-range was well represented, resulting in clear and focused dialogue, whilst the high-end was pretty good too. As a result the effects and music in TV shows and movies were well rendered and football benefited from clear commentary combined with a greater sense of the crowd. The one area where the E7 was lacking was bass, there was almost none so movies in particular lost some of their impact. However the E7 certainly sounded much better than the B7, which was just insipid in comparison, and it was almost as good as the Technics tuned soundbar on the Panasonic EZ1002, although the latter did have the edge.
What is new for this year is the addition of Dolby Atmos processing, which has been developed to deliver an immersive experience from the soundbar built into the E7. Whilst this might sound impossible, we had a demonstration of this technology from Dolby and, much to our surprise, it actually worked, creating a wider soundstage and a more immersive experience from only two speakers. We found that in our own home the effect was less impressive and although it did create a greater sense of presence to the audio, when watching actual Dolby Atmos demos that we were familiar with we knew what was missing. In one particularly obvious sequence where thunderous bass is supposed to rumble around the room there was absolutely nothing. So whilst this kind of Dolby Atmos support is a nice thing to have, it will never replace a proper Dolby Atmos setup and in reality the sound quality of the E7 was dependent on the built-in soundbar rather than psychoacoustic processing. The sound quality is certainly good enough for general TV watching but with an screen like this you owe it too yourself to look at a superior outboard audio solution.
MORE: What is Dolby Atmos
The E7 sounded good thanks to its built-in soundbar and the 21ms input lag is sure to please gamers
Input Lag & Energy ConsumptionIf you'll excuse the pun, LG have really picked up their game when it comes to input lag this year. In the calibrated ISF mode we measured the lag using our Leo Bodnar tester and it came in at 88ms but as soon as we selected the Game mode it dropped to 21ms. As has been noted by some users, renaming an input as PC will also result in a lag of 21ms regardless of which mode you select, although this only appears to apply to SDR signals, so for HDR we still recommend using the Game mode. Regardless of which approach you take a lag of 21ms should be low enough for any gamer and the good news is the low lag applies to 1080p or 4K gaming regardless of whether it is in SDR or HDR. As an added bonus the E7 can also accept 4:4:4 signals correctly if you rename the input PC and it can support 1080p at 120Hz, which is good news for PC gamers. We certainly enjoyed playing Horizon Zero Dawn on our PS4 Pro and the 4K and HDR images looked stunning.
In terms of the E7’s energy consumption it proved to be comparable to other OLED TVs that we have reviewed recently and using a full window 50% white pattern we measured the Eco picture mode at 140W and our calibrated ISF mode at 87W. Once we moved on to HDR the level of energy consumption obviously increased and the E7 was drawing 168W with our optimal settings.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 71% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 9 What do these mean?
- Superb blacks and contrast ratio
- Fantastic dynamic range
- Impressive image accuracy
- Great detail just above black
- Excellent video processing
- Dolby Vision support
- Gorgeous design
- Very low input lag
- Very minor banding just above black
LG 65E7 4K OLED TV Review
Should I buy one?The E7 is a fantastic OLED TV that delivers in every area that you would expect from a modern display. It's beautifully designed and well made, there are plenty of connections, a great remote and an excellent smart platform that includes all the video streaming services you could ever want. The built-in soundbar is very good and whilst the Dolby Atmos support is never going to deliver a real immersive experience it does help enhance the audio. The picture quality is superb, with an accurate greyscale, gamma and colour gamut, deep blacks and improved shadow detail. The performance with both standard and high dynamic range content was impressive and whilst the limited brightness may occasionally be a factor with HDR, the fact that the E7 supports every available version of HDR does give it an edge over much of the competition. The LG OLED65E7 is a great TV that combines state-of-the-art features with a touch of class and as such comes highly recommended.
What are my alternatives?In the same price bracket as the E7 you have the Sony KD-65A1 and the Panasonic TX-65EZ952. We have already reviewed the A1, which delivered an equally impressive performance combined with an ingenious acoustic surface that uses the screen as a speaker. The A1 is a masterclass in minimalist design and will also support Dolby Vision but overall we preferred the look, features and performance of the E7. Although we haven't reviewed the EZ952 yet, based on the TX-65EZ1002 we would expect a very accurate and highly capable performer. However the EZ952 doesn't have quite the design flair and feature set of the E7 and the lack of Dolby Vision support could be an issue for Panasonic.
The real question is whether to go for the OLED65B7 instead and save yourself £500. The simple answer is that if you're not bothered about the Picture-on-Glass design, built-in soundbar, dual tuners and flashy remote then there's no reason not to. We did feel that the accuracy of the E7 was that bit more refined compared to the B7 but in every other respect the two TVs are identical with the same image features and performance. The B7 is an attractively designed TV and whilst not quite as well made as the E7 it is feature-packed and one hell of a performer, making it a hard to resist at the price. However if you like the look of the E7 and want those little touches of refinement then you won't be disappointed either.
MORE: Read All OLED TV Reviews
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £4,999.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level9
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box10
Picture Quality Calibrated10
Ease of Use10
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.
In This Review